Suspended Baby Cage
In 1930, when London mothers expressed concern that their city children weren't getting enough fresh air, some Americans responded by patenting this protective outdoor cage.
Mirrored Reading Glasses
These glasses, with mirrors mounted on either side of the frame, enabled the wearer to read while lying down. Although they were invented in 1936, the novelty specs aren't just a thing of the past. Hit up Amazon for your own pair.
Invented in 1964, at the height of America's fascination with robots programmed to do household chores, the Phone-Answering Robot executed just one task—picking up and hanging up the telephone. It couldn't even record or play messages.
The ad for the Mew Machine, invented in 1963, told you all you needed to know: "This mechanical cat can meow ten times a minute and the eyes light up each time. The device for scaring rats and mice is from Japan and is powered by a two-watt motor."
The amphibious bicycle was equipped with air-filled floats and fan blades, enabling it to cruise on land and water. The bike was invented in Paris in 1932.
Kanye West recently brought back these pointless 1950 shades.
This four-seater was invented in the U.S. in 1939. The bike could accommodate a small family—plus a sewing machine for Mom.
Leashes and collars had been around for decades before a mad inventor introduced this dog restrainer in the early 1940s.
A precursor of Google Glass? This 1963 product from inventor Hugo Gernsback amounted to a front-row seat at the television.
This bright idea, hatched in 1961, actually still exists, though it's hard to imagine why.
Rainy Day Cigarette Holder
A circus clown invented this tiny umbrella, intended to keep cigarettes dry on rainy days, in 1931.
Pedestrian Safety Net
This 1924 French invention should be required for every teenage driver.
Fictional pitchmen that came to life in classic TV commercials—and the actors who played them
Surprising stories behind brand names you grew up with, from Q-tips to Coca-Cola
20 toys from our childhood prove that sometimes the smallest presents are the best
When a friend you've invited for dinner says, 'Don't go to any trouble,' you can be sure there's a subtext
16 bizarre Thanksgiving ad campaigns from back in the day
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